• Levitt: New Study Reveals People May Be Excessively Cautious When Facing Choices

    Steve LevittLittle is known about whether people make good choices when facing important decisions. Professor Levitt recently published an article on this topic, "Heads or Tails: The Impact of a Coin Toss on Major Life Decisions and Subsequent Happiness," which was covered by Ladders News.

    The article reports on a large-scale randomized field experiment in which research subjects having difficulty making a decision flipped a coin to help determine their choice. For important decisions (quitting a job or ending a relationship), individuals who were told by the coin toss to make a change were more likely to make a change, more satisfied with their decisions, and happier six months later than those whose coin toss instructed maintaining the status quo. This finding suggests that people may be excessively cautious when facing life-changing choices.

    Read the full article here: https://academic.oup.com/restud/advance-article/doi/10.1093/restud/rdaa016/5834495.

  • Santiago Franco named a 2020-21 Urban Doctoral Fellow

    Santiago Franco, a third year Economics PhD student, has been named a 2020-21 Urban Doctoral Fellow. The Mansueto Institute’s Urban Doctoral Fellows program provides a yearlong writing and professionalization experience for up to ten University of Chicago doctoral students whose research focuses on urban issues. 

    Franco's research interests include macroeconomics, economic growth, firm dynamics and urban economics. His ongoing projects on urban topics use machine learning techniques to study household location sorting and neighborhood composition. Outside urban economics, he has been working on productivity estimation and the relationship between intellectual property concentration and business dynamism. Santiago was born in Medellín, Colombia and holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics and a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics, both from Los Andes University in Bogotá, Colombia.

    Read about the other Urban Doctoral Fellows at https://miurban.uchicago.edu/urbandocfellows2020-21/


  • TMW Center Statement on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

    The work of the TMW Center is about much more than language development—it’s about supporting families, it is about equity, and it is about justice. As has long been clear to many in this country, particularly men, women, and children of color, justice isn’t bestowed equally, if at all, to all Americans. In recent months, many more citizens seem to have awakened to this intolerable reality. The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other people of color at the hands of white police officers and vigilantes are only the most recent painful examples of centuries’ worth of racial injustice in the United States. But they have awakened a nation to the need to undo the harms wrought by structural racism, police brutality, redlining, and other forms of white oppression—and the tremendous work that will be required to do so.

    At the TMW Center, we’re committed to this work. It’s our obligation as public servants and as individuals. We recognize that this work will not come easily and will not be completed quickly. But we know, too, that there can be no delay in its undertaking, and that continuing with business as usual is simply not an option. We’ve taken several, initial steps in pursuit of fostering an anti-racist culture across our country, in our communities, and at the TMW Center.

    As a staff, we have been engaging in difficult conversations about race, privilege, and bias, dedicating time and space specifically to these topics, but also seeking to more intentionally weave them into all of our work. We’ve compiled and shared with one another resources to aid us in this work. This includes resources specifically for parents and educators; tips for getting involved in the anti-racism movement in Chicago and nationally; and recommendations of books, articles, movies, and podcasts to help us learn, grow, and feel inspired.  The next stage of our work is to engage with outside experts to reimagine how we do our work to ensure we live up to our aspiration to be an actively anti-racist organization.  As we pursue this work, TMW Center leadership has been unwavering in its support of staff, partners, and families who are hurting and unequivocal its affirmation of the notion that Black Lives Matter.

    We created the precursor to the TMW Center because we were outraged by American educational inequities and because we knew that all parents want what’s best for their children.  More than ten years later, the TMW Center remains unwavering in its commitment to pursue interventions that close gaps of inequity and opportunity and improve children’s lives. We’re equally committed to fighting the systemic and structural racism that is responsible for so many of those chasms. 

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